Go away

Yes, children, I know it’s Halloween. It has been all day. I know this because I am an elementary school teacher and a mother and I was a kid like you before that, so I have been doing Halloween for many more years than you can even count. Trust me, I am very aware that it is a special day for you.

What you may not know, young ones, is that last year I decided to opt out of the treat-giving thing. I decided that since I have done Halloween since well before your birth (and the births of some of your parents, I daresay), I was entitled to just stop. So last year, for the first time, I did not buy bags and bags of Halloween goodies to hand out to the likes of you.

And it was good.

The universe did not explode, the sun came up the next morning as usual, and you got your yearly sugar fix elsewhere.

So I have chosen to ignore Halloween again this year … which is just as well, as it is currently pouring rain outside, in typical Vancouver autumnal style. I doubt there will be many of you youngsters out and about this evening, and those of you who do brave the elements, will likely not be trick-or-treating very long. It’s just too miserable out there.

But children, you do need to understand that I am NOT answering the door and giving you any treats this year. And how are you supposed to know that? Well, little ones, my porch light is not on. That means that I do not want you to stomp up my front stairs and hammer on the door or ring the doorbell over and over. I will not come to the door. No. I have nothing for you in the way of sugary, calorie-laden yumminess. Go bug them next door.

And while you’re clambering down the stairs to go do just that, perhaps you can remind your stupid parents that the absence of an illuminated porch light has ALWAYS meant to skip that house when trick-or-treating. Ask your stupid parents what THEY did back in the day when they came to a dark house. I’ll bet every goodie in your bag that their parents didn’t let them go to such a house. Then roll your eyes at your stupid parents and say snarkily, “So why did you just watch ME go up to that dark house? Are you STUPID?”

Happy Halloween, kids … at somebody else’s door.

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12 responses to “Go away

  1. Now we have about 12-18 kids a year, and they’re little and cute and polite and dressed-up, but our first year here (30 years ago) was so traumatic–running out of candy, porches full of fully-grown teenagers with a smear of makeup and a large bag–adults holding out a pillowcase for “some for the baby at home”–that I haven’t enjoyed it since. I flip out the light at 8 and call it a night.

    • It seems to depend upon where you live. Thirty years ago, I lived in a brand new suburban subdivision, and it was a kid factory. We had almost 200 kids back then. I haven’t lived there for 12 years, but even then it was down to maybe 40, because all the kids had grown up and the area had gotten so expensive that few young families could afford to move in. Where I am now is a little more urban (mostly condos and townhouses) and we’ve never had more than 50 kids – and that was 10 years ago! I know other people who currently live in cheaper, more kid-friendly areas, and they still have upward of 200 little Halloween visitors. That would make Halloween VERY spendy – and not even for yourself!

  2. Halloween isn’t a biggie here, maybe it’s an Anglo thing? We might get two or five kids in the course of the evening if the porch lights are on or there are decorations, otherwise it’s completely calm. This is a good thing that makes me happy indeed.

    • I think that there’s not much of a Halloween frenzy in Québec maybe because there doesn’t seem to be an acceptable way to translate “Trick or treat”. Most of the Québecois that I know never did it as a kid so they’re no help, and come on, “Truc ou traîte”?? Really??

  3. Bravo! Good on you, my sister. I think I’ll follow suit. Maybe we can start a trend to get fully away from the trick-or-treat nonsense for overindulged kids.

    • I’d just be happy if parents taught their kids to not go up to houses where the porch light is off. That’s my crusade for now. You can join me if you want. (I’ll bring cookies!)

  4. I hope the kids stayed away for you!

    • There were three kids who tromped to my door and interrupted my evening, which prompted me to write the post. That’s three too many, I believe, since my porch light was off and the front of my house was entirely dark (I was in the kitchen, which is where my desk and computer are).

  5. Having lived in an apartment building for 15 years, I have almost forgotten what it is like, this strange ritual.
    We used to have candy in the lobby and there would be a request for donations and for people to hand it out, but that was abruptly stopped a few years ago, which seems strange now that we have sooo many children living here.

    • It certainly IS a strange ritual, isn’t it? Imagine moving to Canada from another country where they don’t do Halloween and being subjected to it for the first time! Talk about culture shock!

  6. I’m sure you feel lighter now that you got that rant off your chest!It does appear that kids no longer know the Halloween “etiquette”. Lights on, lights off, big “Go Away” sign at the door or “Out of Candy” don’t mean a thing. The rain did keep our numbers down this year though, only about 60 kids, about half our usual number.

    • One of the reasons I decided not to give out candy any more was that my numbers were going down each year, from a high of about 125 the first year I moved in. I was down to something like 25 kids the last year I gave out candy, so I thought “Why bother any more?” And how can you get even 60 at your house? Are there that many kids on your whole street, or do they bus them in?!